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Old 05-04-2011, 02:16 PM
fozzie fozzie is offline
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Question definitions of custody and guardianship

The sep agreement that my lawyer has made for me to review says, "...the parents have joint guardianship and joint custody..."

When I asked him for a definition of 'joint custody', I got this answer:

"There are two types of custody. Physical and legal.

Joint physical custody (instead of one parent having custody with the
other having visitation), does not mean exact division of time with each
parent, but can be based on reasonable time with each parent either
specifically spelled out (certain days, weeks, holidays, alternative
periods) or based on stated guidelines and shared payment of costs of
raising the child(ren).

Joint legal custody means that both parents can make decisions for the
child(ren), including medical treatment, but where possible they should
consult the other. Upon death or disability of either parent, legal
custody will go to the remaining parent and will give the active parent
the sole ability to act as parent for the child without further order of
the court. The primary affect of this is a psychological benefit for
the parent and the child(ren), so that a child is cared for by both
parents, even though the child(ren) lives in a primary home.

In terms of the agreement, it means both parents are ' joint custodial
parents and guardians' and neither party is a non-custodial parent, or,
in other words, the child(ren) has 2 custodial parents. "

When I asked if Joint legal custody is the same as joint guardianship, this was the answer:

"Here is an over simplification REALLY? of your last question:

Guardianship is a separation legal concept from custody. Guardianship
refers to the responsibility for making major decisions in a child's
life, both parents can have guardianship (called "joint guardianship").
A guardian is both guardian of the child and guardian of the estate of
the child. A guardian of a child makes decisions involving matters like
education, health care and religion. Estate guardianship means the
ability to manage the child's property.

Custody encompasses the care, control, guardianship and maintenance of
the child(ren). It involves the appointment of custody between parents
whether shared or specified periods of time.

When parents have joint guardianship, they have an obligation to talk to
each other about important parenting decisions and an obligation to try
to reach an agreement about those decisions. If they disagree, a
guardian is entitled to apply to the court for directions and an order
relating to any question affecting a child."

Are you as confused as me?
It says that "custody encompasses care, control, guardianship and maintenance of
the child(ren)"

If so, is it necessary to put both terms (custody and guardianship) in the agreement? Shouldn't 'joint custody' be enough?

Is he using both terms because we were common-law?

It seems everywhere I look, I see different definitions of 'custody'.

Are there other terms that can be used that mean the same thing but are not legalese?
All I want is to understand the meaning of the words in the Agreement.

Thanks for your help.